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No. 16 Washington secures Pac-12 North with Apple Cup upset of No. 8 Washington State

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It’s been a dream season in more ways than one for No. 8 Washington State and everything was there for the taking on Friday night. A Pac-12 North title, a conference championship, a potential Rose Bowl berth and perhaps, if things broke their way, a trip to the College Football Playoff was on the line for the Cougars in their final home game of the year.

There was just one problem: that team from the other side of the state relishes playing spoiler for their rivals when the stakes are the highest.

Such was the case again as No. 16 Washington braved blizzard-like conditions on the Palouse to knock off Wazzu 28-15 and capture the Pac-12 North title for a second time in three years.

Seniors played a big role in the game for the Huskies as they won their sixth in a row in the series, none of which came close to being as cold, snowy, icy or windy as things were at Martin Stadium for this one. QB Jake Browning only threw three incompletions despite those elements but was reduced much more to game-manager status with 207 yards and a bad red zone interception in the first quarter. He was no doubt fine with that in keeping his record perfect against the in-state rivals during his career on Montlake and especially so given that it was a big night for his teammate in the backfield as Myles Gaskin rushed for 170 hard-fought yards and three touchdowns.

Wideout Aaron Fuller was responsible for UW’s other score that came off a Chris Petersen special: a reverse pass trick play that found a wide-open Hunter Bryant in the end zone.

While there will be plenty of taunts from those in purple and gold that the Cougs, well, Coug’d this one, that wasn’t the case.

Heisman candidate Gardner Minshew threw for only 152 yards on 35 attempts against one of the best secondaries in the country (the weather was obviously a factor too) but didn’t quite have another rally left in him. Tailback James Williams had a nice night as the one player who could find some success on offense for Mike Leach’s crew, rushing for 65 yards and a pair of touchdowns while also catching seven passes for 30 yards.

Not all is lost for Wazzu however, as the team is likely to be ticketed to a New Year’s Six Bowl even with the loss should they remain in the top 12 of the standings. That will be a bitter-sweet trip to either the Fiesta or Peach Bowl if it does indeed happen come Selection Sunday given what was in front of the team on Friday night but such is life after one of the best rivalries up in the Pacific Northwest.

The Huskies, meanwhile, can look ahead to the Pac-12 Championship Game next Friday night against Utah at Levi’s Stadium. The two have already played this season, staging a defensive-minded game that Washington won 21-7 back in mid-September. Both teams have had several up’s and down’s since that meeting and it is safe to say they enter as very different teams when they meet again.

The end goal is still there for the taking for the preseason Pac-12 favorite though: a conference title, a Rose Bowl berth and a bit of respect.

Four Nebraska players cited for pot-related offenses this offseason won’t face charges

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There was good news off the field this past week for a Nebraska football team expecting bigger things on it.

According to the Lincoln Journal-Star, freshman wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson, who was cited for marijuana possession in June, will not face any charges related to the citation because the chief deputy attorney of Lancaster County “felt there was insufficient evidence.” Robinson was one of four people in a dorm room university police were called to investigate two months ago, and the receiver was the only one to receive a citation from the responding officers after marijuana was discovered in his car during a search.

The chief deputy attorney, Bruce Prenda, also confirmed that the other three Cornhusker football players cited for marijuana-related offenses this offseason — freshman defensive back Myles Farmer (HERE), senior defensive back Jeremiah Stovall (HERE) and sophomore running back Maurice Washington (HERE) — will not face charges “at this time” as well.

From the Journal-Star:

But, this week, Prenda said he wasn’t charging any of them “at this time as a result of our office’s continued evaluation of the effect of enactment of LB657 on our ability to prosecute marijuana and paraphernalia cases.”

The law legalized industrial hemp but created problems for prosecutors who say they would have to have the drug tested to show its THC level was above 0.3%.

Washington, provided he can navigate a much more serious legal hurdle out on the West Coast, is penciled in as the bellcow of the Cornhusker’s rushing attack this coming season, while Robinson, a highly-touted four-star 2019 signee, is expected to contribute immediately as a true freshman. The two defensive backs likely won’t appear on NU’s two-deep depth chart when the season kicks off.

Wendy Anderson, wife of Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson, loses two-year battle with breast cancer

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The heartbreak that is cancer has, once again, impacted the world of college football.

Arkansas State announced Monday that Blake Anderson would be taking a leave of absence from his job as head football coach to be with his wife Wendy, who was battling an aggressive form of breast cancer for the second time in three years.  Tuesday morning, Anderson posted that his wife had lost her brave battle with the insidious disease shortly before midnight last night “with me laying right beside her.”

Wendy Anderson was 49.

Wendy Anderson was initially diagnosed with cancer in the spring of 2017.  In August of that year, Anderson had tweeted that his wife was cancer-free.  Sadly, cancer returned a few months later.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to Coach Anderson for his loss.

Defensive coordinator David Duggan will serve as interim head coach during Anderson’s indefinite leave of absence.  Arkansas State will open the 2019 season against SMU Aug. 31.

Arkansas loses starting WR to torn ACL

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Entering summer camp, Deon Stewart was the most senior member of a very young receiving corps. Unfortunately for all involved, Stewart will exit camp on the sidelines and will remain there for the foreseeable future.

Multiple media outlets in the area initially reported that Stewart suffered a torn ACL during Arkansas’ scrimmage this past Saturday; Monday, head coach Chad Morris confirmed the initial reports, saying that an MRI showed a tear in the ligament.

Suffice to say, the fifth-year senior, who posted an ominous one-word tweet over the weekend portending the development, will miss the entire 2019 season.

Morris also confirmed that Stewart will pursue a sixth season of eligibility.

Stewart played in 36 games the past three seasons, starting 14 of those contests in 2017 (six) and 2018 (eight). This past season, Stewart was fourth on the Razorbacks in receptions (22) and sixth in yards (178).

Of the 17 receivers listed on the Razorbacks’ preseason roster, 13 of them are either freshmen or sophomores. Stewart is one of two seniors at the position, the other being Jimmie Stoudemire, who didn’t catch a pass during his first season in Fayetteville after transferring in from a California junior college.

Iowa confirmed Jayden McDonald cannonballed into transfer portal

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Pardon me while I clean up a bit of personnel news from late last week during these early-morning hours.

Early last week, speculation was making the rounds that Jayden McDonald was considering a transfer away from Iowa. Friday evening, the speculation became a reality as the football program confirmed in a press release that the redshirt freshman linebacker has entered his name into the NCAA transfer database.

It’s at this point in the program where we remind our readers that entering a name into the portal doesn’t guarantee a departure, even as it allows other programs to contact the player without receiving permission from his current school. McDonald could also reverse course, pull his name from the database and return to the Hawkeyes.

Conversely, the university can take away McDonald’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered the portal.

After originally committing to Rutgers, McDonald signed with Iowa as a three-star recruit in 2018. The Georgia high schooler opted for Iowa over Kansas State, Ole Miss and Purdue.

McDonald didn’t see the field as a true freshman and, with the Hawkeyes moving to a 4-2-5 base defense this season, he saw his opportunities for playing time in Iowa City narrowed even further.